Making things happen in Liberia

9th June 2015

How can leaders make things happen when the odds are stacked against them? A recent article in the Harvard Business Review tackles this question, by looking to the example of Africa’s first female head of state, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The article focuses on the impressive reforms carried out by the Government of Liberia during the first 150 days of her second term which saw roads built, vocational colleges opened and the port refurbished. It also explores the role played by AGI in supporting national leaders across Africa. Liberia's achievements were impressive, especially considering the restricted resources and capacity within government. Reforms like these support economic growth and improve living conditions, and that is why AGI was proud to support our Liberian colleagues to deliver them.

An extract is below and you can read the full article on the Harvard Business Review.

The first job of leadership is to focus attention. When Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was re-elected as president of Liberia, she faced unemployment, health crises, social unrest, and feeble infrastructure on one side, and a historically corrupt bureaucracy, few resources, and a mandate for immediate results on the other. For a head of state, having to choose which of such acute issues to pursue can feel perilous. It’s essential to decide what to do and what not to do.

AGI has found that an effective way to force tough trade-off decisions is to focus on an urgent and defined timeline—one that is long enough to get something meaningful done but short enough to demand disciplined attention. The AGI team focused Johnson-Sirleaf’s Cabinet on developing a 150-day plan.”

You can read our 150 days in Liberia case study here.